Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Reading Challenge: Reviews on Shutter, The Storyspinner, A Wicked Thing and Bone Gap

So many books; so little time.

On to the reviews.

First up, Shutter by Courtney Alameda.

Goodness, gracious, I sincerely wanted to love Shutter, but I really, very nearly came to despise the lead character, Micheline Helsing. Micheline is a tetrachromat, which boils down to the fact that her lineage, as a descendant Van Helsing, means that she was born with an ability to see the undead. It's actually a little technical and definitely unique, and I was sold on reading the book based on that idea alone. The plot follows Micheline and her team, consisting of Oliver, Jude and Ryder, as they work to rid the world of monsters. One hunt goes wrong and the team is cursed with something called a "soulchain" that leaves them with seven days to figure out how to get rid of the monster that cursed them or they all will die.

By the time I read the first chapter and saw how the hunt went wrong, I was already of a mind to give dear, stupid, selfish Micheline a slap to the head. Honestly, I've seen the many rave reviews but all I can say is that I do not and will not EVER support a main character who puts other people in danger because of their stupid decisions. First, she ran into a hospital, ALONE, thinking she could exorcise the ghost that's terrorizing the place, even though she knows doing that was against her orders. She also KNOWS that her team of loyal idiots will scramble after her to protect her. Then they get cursed. The whole thing is all her fault and she never truly showed any remorse for it. Instead, she continually acted defiant about the situation and continued to put herself and others at risk. She kept information from her team and whined a lot, and I didn't care for her or the boys one bit.

The boys were boring and Micheline's father was a jackass. Honestly, the only reason I kept reading was because I wanted to know the reason behind the curse, I wanted to understand the villain of the book, and I wanted to see more of the world that was created here. Because really, the world itself was fantastic. I just didn't give two figs about the people in it.

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Next up, The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace.

When Johanna Von Arlo's father dies in an accident, her family is forced out of their troupe and have to look for other means to survive. As a result, Johanna has to work for Lord Rafael DeSilva to keep her brothers fed. While this is going on, the Keepers, a race of people with magical abilities, are looking for a long lost and rumored to be dead princess, whose throne is of much interest to the dukes in Johanna's part of the world. At the same time as the Keeper's search, girls that look like the princess are turning up dead. They also happen to look a lot like Johanna.

This book had some good points and a lot of the same old fantasy story points. From just the summary alone, it may be easy to see where the story is going and how it will end, if not in this book then in the next unless Wallace decides to pull a fast one on her readers. Either way, the book's main strong point is in the character interactions. The relationships that develop and are seen were engaging, making me care for certain characters. The romance, on the other hand, was too much too soon. I think it would have been far more believable to leave that plot development for a later time, say by at least the next book, just not this one. The book switches between different character viewpoints and it seems as if it was meant to fill the pages until the end. It's all the just same stuff I've read over and over again.

I hope the next book has more original elements concerning the Keepers and manages to develop a book that doesn't fall victim to the second book syndrome that so many series fall into.

Rating: 6.5

Now for a review of A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas.

Like I've stated again and again, I have a thing for fairy tales. This book, A Wicked Thing, is a story about Sleeping Beauty, specifically what happens after the poor princess wakes up and doesn't find her happily ever after. It follows Princess Aurora after she wakes up 100 years after the curse put her to sleep to find that her family is dead, her kingdom is in turmoil, the prince she's meant to marry has a horrible family pushing for certain political moves behind him, and the whole time, Aurora thinks the curse has left her altered somehow for the worst.

I read this book twice. The first time, I read it really fast and was left with the general feeling that I should really like it because wow, it went in a completely different direction and decided to try to tell a story about what happens after the princess wakes up. A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan was the last book I read that went that route and also managed to make a respectable story out of it, so I thought Thomas deserved some kudos for that as well.

The second time I read this, though, I was left feeling extremely frustrated with the lack of real character behind Aurora. I wanted her to fight and be strong and instead, she spent a lot of time keeping her mouth shut and being obedient, all while hiding away her many attempts at being supposedly rebellious. The book felt like a lot of build up to a sequence of events that, unfortunately, the readers will have to wait for book 2 to witness. It was tiring and it dragged.

I felt disappointed reading this the second time around but I'm glad that I went back to read this book again to see for myself just where things veered too far into safe and boring. I hope the next book has an Aurora that finds an inner fire that she shows the whole world, making them wish they'd treated her better after she'd woken up from her curse. It's the least the poor princess deserves after spending 100 years asleep only to wake up to find that her happy ending will never come.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Finally, a review on Bone Gap by Laura Ruby.

Now this book, I loved. The writing was dreamy and atmospheric and it drew me in, making me want to figure out the particular details of the town of Bone Gap, where things are just this side of different. The book focuses on two characters: Finn, a young man who witnesses the abduction of his brother's girlfriend but is unable to describe the kidnapper, and Roza, the young woman snatched away and taken to a little gap in the world where she's meant to be a prize but is determined to return to the world she left behind, and the two boys who took her in, no matter what the cost.

I loved both sides of this story. I thought Finn was endearing and his relationships with his older brother Sean and his new girlfriend Petey were believable with their ups and downs and the figuring outs of how Finn changes after Roza's abduction and how he works to bring her back. I thought Roza was brilliant as a young woman who learns who she is, what parts of her are more important, and who is willing to do whatever it takes to get back to the place where she felt she most belonged.

Their stories are separate for the most part but the places where they merge are where the true magic of Ruby's story comes to life. Impossible things are a dime a dozen in the town of Bone Gap, if you only know where to look. The idea is that the ability to look behind the surface is worth more than people can possibly realize or imagine. This is a book for people looking for the magic and myths in everyday life, where the possibility of something more is enough to change everything.

Rating: 9 Stars

I'll be back soon with more reviews!

No comments:

Post a Comment